During last season’s 82 game schedule the Florida Panthers lost over 320 man games to injury en route to their first ever division championship. Fortunately it was the depth of the organization and the play of the entire team behind the coaching of Kevin Dineen, that allowed Panthers to overcome the constant and lenghty trips to the injured list. Scottie Upshall, Dmitry Kulikov, Sean Bergenheim, and Marcel Goc were among the players that missed significant time, with many others having spent time injured as well. Collectively the Florida Panthers were able to hold their own as the leaders of their division.
This year, the trend seems to be continuing, however with vastly different results. Scottie Upshall who missed 56 games last season will be out approximately a month with an ankle injury. Sean Bergenheim was hurt playing in Europe, and there’s no timetable for his return. Captain Ed Jovanovski has been out of action since taking a knee on knee hit from Tampa’s BJ Crombeen on January 29th. Jovo is expected to be out another two weeks, although he did skate with the team at practice on Friday. He is expected to miss an additional two weeks.
Adding to that list, Kris Versteeg, last season’s spark plug hasn’t been healthy from the beginning of the season, and is now day to day after taking a hit from behind by Alex Ovechkin. Versteeg missed Thursday night’s game against Montreal, and is expected to miss Saturday’s game against Tampa. Lastly, Stephen Weiss who has been a ghost of himself is apparently nursing a groin injury, which might explain his somewhat lackluster play.